His pale blue bones bend
graciously, fragile as fossils
round the place of song
blue is the very world
that grounds him, clothes him
in arrest against blue stone;
blinded eyes shut out
all but his vision of
impending things ; they fall
into the hole of the guitar
where his limp thumb plucks
beauty out of tightened strings.
Pablo gave us this old man
when pitiful and melancholy
were the palette’s only colors
and a gessoed tabletop
the only panel ready to receive
the pentimento of his pain.
This is what it comes to,
the blue painting seems to say,
a blindness, poor and old and
left to suffer homeless
in a world of monochrome
under a dome bereft of stars.
Cold, cold, except for one
dear possibility, colored warm—
the promise of a butternut guitar.
Under the dog star, weary, wilted,
watching dark’s descent compress
all things to a lonesome distant barking
and a jittery sleeplessness—
I try TV for company
knowing I won’t find it there
but needing noise and light
against the stupifying humid air—
ah, perfect! Verdi’s Requiem
enters the room: air-stabbing bows
of violins, the maestro’s frantic waves
and all the choral mouths agape with O’s—
it is the final movement, the Libera Me:
“Deliver me from everlasting death…”
it screams, wails, rushes to a supreme hush
of sorrow’s softening under the breath—
and in the silence afterward, deliverance
from dark, and grief. Hair of the dog, what
power this sad music has, to liberate
when other helps are absent and the need is great.
.UNDER THE DOG STAR
Originally posted August 2014
We did not plan
aloud or far ahead
knowing how the envy of the gods
(as that of man) is
easily aroused. We dreaded
ruining our odds.
We did, however, dream
of moving on to something more–
from milk to cream
dry bread to honey cake
an after better than before.
We meant more life
just down the road.
Until the universe arranged
an otherwise, a knife
to heart, one morning to explode.
You died, and all was changed.
Instead of dreaming now
alone I let life simply be
the in and out of breath.
I greet its beauty, but allow
no wishful thought, no certainty
except, of course, for death.